Bucatini con le Sarde


Server 8

3 salted anchovies or 6 anchovy fillets in oil

100g breadcrumbs

120ml extra-virgin olive oil
 Trattoria Siciliana
1 medium onion,

50ml white tablespoon ’strattu or 1½ tablespoon
tomato purée

8 fresh sardine fillets

30g sultanas

30g pine nuts

a good pinch of saffron (about 20 threads)

3 sprigs of wild fennel,
finely chopped, or 1 tsp fennel seeds soaked in a little water
pasta, such as bucatini

If using salted anchovies, rinse and dry them. Run your thumb gently along the backbone to release it, and you should be able to pull it out easily. If using anchovies in oil, drain them. Toast the breadcrumbs in a dry pan over a medium heat, until they are quite a dark golden brown. Take care not to burn them.
Heat half the extra-virgin olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Sauté until softened but not coloured, then add the anchovies, stirring until they 'melt’. Add the wine and bubble up to let it evaporate, then add the ’strattu or purée and bring back to the boil, adding just enough water to give a sauce consistency. Add the sardine fillets, sultanas, pine nuts, saffron and chopped fennel or soaked seeds. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if necessary, stir and cook for 10 minutes.
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add salt, then put in the pasta and cook for about a minute less than the time given on the packet, so that it is al dente. Drain, reserving some cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sardine sauce, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce, and sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs.


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